Seven years, baby. You turned seven-years-old yesterday. Where did the time fly, my darling, beautiful boy? I still remember our first day at home as a mommy-and-sonny-boy couple, when I sit with you in the chair, cradling you in my arms and crying big, fat tears as I stared in wonder at your sleeping face. Your father walked into the room just then and alarmed at seeing the tears (fearing post-natal depression, I suspect), worriedly asked me, "What's wrong?" I remember looking up at him and smiling. I said, "Nothing. I'm just so happy."
And that's the way it's been, ever since. I've been crazy happy about the thought, fact and reality of you being my son.
Seven years old. You are truly a big boy now. I can't say it enough, but you really are my soul's song and my heart's delight. And oh the myriad ways in which you delight me, my darling boy!
- You've inherited my love for books. You can spend hours reading and it fills me with such peace and pleasure to see your nose buried between the pages of something that's got you hooked hard. And I'm not just talking comic books and Noddy stories. No, you're in it for real! I had invested in a set of Children's Encyclopaedia called "I Wonder Why" when you were just a year old. Yes, one thing that I was adamant about was the fact that my kids would have a well-stocked library, so I started building it up, bit by bit, even before you were born!! Anyway, back to "I Wonder Why" -- you are fascinated by them! You actually sit and read them, paying great attention to the words, pictures and captions. One of your favourite books is this huge tome on animals that your mamu and baba bought for you this year from the book fair. You can while away an entire afternoon just with that one book. You love going to book stores; you even start to read something that's caught your eye standing right where you are! You love reading so much that if you're entwined in the fabric of a story so completely, you HATE going downstairs to play in the evenings...and even though I sympathise (being like that myself when I was your age) I insist you go out and get your evening quota of fresh air and running around. A couple of months ago, you sat down with the children's section of The Telegraph and finished it in one go. You get excited whenever I get you the latest edition of The Magic Pot. And what brought a lump to my through was when you sat down with an edition of Mother&Baby magazine and read my column from start to finish and after you were done, you looked up at me and smiled. Sigh!! And that's why, even though many people would probably be horrified and aghast, I knew your father and I were doing the right thing in gifting you a treasury of Disney Tales (from your brother) and a big, huge, encyclopaedic atlas (from us), this year for your birthday. And yup! True to form, you LOVE them!! (Of course, your father wants to give you something 'fun' as well, but I'm good, 'cause you're so happy with what you've got.)
- Music is your other great love and it's not surprising considering the genes you've inherited...from both sides! You have a good ear, a wide range of likes and loves, a sweet voice and are quick to pick up the words to a song that grabs your senses. It thrills me no end to hear you sing and then to have your kaka and baba react with surprise, "He knows the words to this song?" Recent cases in point; we were driving back from Shanti Niketan and you were sitting on your kaka's lap and when "Shot Through the Heart" started playing he exclaimed in surprise and delight, "He knows the words to a Jon Bon Jovi?" You continued to astound and delight him by singing the words of the chorus to popular numbers from Three Idiots, Queen, Micheal Jackson and Abba. And then, last Sunday, at the dining table, while waiting for lunch to be served, you suddenly started singing the 2010 FIFA anthem by K'Naan...you're father couldn't be more surprised and delighted; I couldn't help my heart swelling. Even before you turned five, your Junior Music Class teacher from CSM told me to enrol you for instrument classes. I'm sorry it took me this long, but better late than never. Your loving Dida has given you a guitar for your birthday and classes start tomorrow. It's the start of a whole new chapter in your life, darling!
- You love acting and are very comfortable on stage, just like me. Durga Pujo 2010 promises to be interesting. I'm holding my breath and walking on eggshells...
- You have a fascinating imagination and are creative with language. You say things that take us completely by surprise and have your father and me looking at you in wonder! Your sense of humour also borders on the sarcastic...kinda a la Bing! (When you grow up, you will know what that means, because you're my son and there's no way you can't not know!)
- I love watching you get big-brotherly with the YO; how sweetly you looked after him and comforted him at that big b'day party in Sat C, when I had stepped out to take your cousin to the loo and he started crying because he couldn't find me; how instinctively you try to shield him from my anger when he's done something naughty and scolding-worthy. Yes, you are a good big brother and may this bond and love only grow stronger with every passing day.
- I absolutely LOVE the fact that you love my cooking. You love it to such an extent that you actually do a happy dance yelling "Yaaayyy!!" when you see me sweating over a stove in the kitchen!
- Sometimes, when I go to pick you up from school and you see me from a distance, you come running towards me at full speed to envelop me in a giant hug. You don't care who's watching, you just do what you have to do. I revel in that and I enjoy every moment and nano-second of it, because who knows when the taunts of "mama's boy" may start and then those public displays of love, emotion and affection, just may come to a grinding halt. Hug away, darling, hug away. I'm you're giant, squishy pillow to hug and hold.
And while you can still throw a tantrum to rival the best of a two-year-old's, I've seen you learn to toughen up a bit and learn to defend yourself...and for that I'm glad. Yes, you're still given to tears (sigh!), but you're trying to bring that under control too. And while I encourage your sensitivity and your sweetness, I need you to be able to give it back to those who do you wrong. The world is full of mean kids and bullies -- you've seen that for yourself -- you cannot let them see you crying. It's sad. And heartbreaking for me too, to think of you developing a think skin, but it's for your own good, so that those mean words, cruel jibes and ugly insults can bounce off your back and not make a dent. All I ask is that you leave a flap open for our words and energies of everlasting love, support, encouragement and comfort to find their way into your heart.
Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily, because your guileless laughter and endearing innocence still fills our world everyday. They have the power to turn me into liquid pools of mommy love. You can't sleep unless I've read to you; you love it when I sing to/for you; you throw yourself into me, often knocking me off my feet to give me bone-crushingly tight hugs; you love to remind me a couple of times a day that you love me most; you ask me again and again who I love most; you sometimes ask me when your dadu will come back; you still ask to sleep in our bed; you love and fight with your brother and cousin, over the chance to 'be' the hero of whatever latest movie or cartoon you've seen; and, one of the most telling, compelling and beautiful proofs of all, is that after the party yesterday, when I was putting you to bed and you were wondering which new goody you could sleep with, I suggested that you sleep with the present the night didi (ayah) gave you and you immediately agreed.
So, my beautiful, precious son, last night you slept with a stuffed Ganesha toy, made in the image of the God/Hero of the "My Friend Ganesha" movies. You made a hard-working woman who loves you, very happy and made your mother's bones, yet again, turn to oatmeal and her heart to slush.
I love you, my big baby. I love, love, love you...biggest, widest and heaviest.
Forever your Mamma